Businesses should be offered vouchers to get help with growth and building sales abroad, one of the UK’s largest employers’ groups has said.

The British Chambers of Commerce suggests giving 20,000 companies growth vouchers worth up to £5,000 to get help with the planning system, advice on accessing finance, or growing their staff. Another £100m could be spent on a similar export voucher scheme and both could be funded using money not spent by the Regional Growth Fund, according to the BCC.

The plans are part of the BCC’s submission to the chancellor for items that could be included in his autumn statement, which will be made on December 5.

John Longworth, BCC director-general, noted that the UK had run a trade deficit for the last 50 years and the government could not afford to continue funding it. He added that businesses were better suited to find the help they needed instead of the government creating new support schemes.

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